Navy's basketball team has found a spark plug in guard Brian Walker. The Mids have won five of seven games since he became a starter.
The 5-foot-8, 160-pound plebe from Marion, Ind., had a triple double, as Navy scored a 94-83 win over Bucknell in a Patriot League game here last night.
Walker had 11 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. More importantly, he raced the ball upcourt and got the offense moving by hitting the open man all night.
"You don't measure a player by his height," said Navy coach Don DeVoe. "You measure by performance, and Brian has been tremendous since after Christmas. This was a big win for us."
Navy is 11-12 overall, 6-5 in the conference. Bucknell is 9-14, 5-7.
High scorer for the Mids, who shot 63 percent, was 6-11 center Alex Kohnen with 24 points. T.J. Hall had 20 and Wes Cooper scored 17.
Navy led by 13 at the half and by 20 with 9:17 left in the game, after Cooper hit from inside for a 72-52 lead.
Bucknell, led by the three-point shooting of Dave Steigerwald, made a valiant attempt to get back in it, but never got closer than eightpoints, 91-83, in the final minute.
"We just weren't ready to play," said Bucknell coach Charlie Woollum. "We got ourselves in a hole and couldn't get out of it. We didn't guard anybody. They ate our big guys up."
L Navy fell behind early, 7-2, but then the Mids went to work.
They caught Bucknell at 7-7 on a three-pointer by Victor Mickel. Cooper, on an assist from Walker, put Navy ahead at 9-7, and the Mids rolled from there. With 11:30 left in the half Kohnen put Navy up, 22-10.
Jim Hamilton made his 61st three-pointer of the year -- a Navy record -- and the Mids were on top, 33-17. With 2:42 remaining, the lead was at 47-25, but a spurt by the visiting Bison in the final minute brought Bucknell back into the game.
Sekou Hamer twice stole the ball and made layups, and with 18 seconds left Steigerwald hit a three-pointer to close within 49-36 at the half.